The third letter of MINISTER (paradigm framework of the thrust of the Convention Baptist Ministers Association) represents networking.
Networking has been defined as coordination among people, groups or organizations of various interests and orientation, working together as in a chain so as to function in a specific manner. It takes place when organizations link up together and make concerted efforts for mutual advantage and greater effectiveness towards the achievement of a common goal. (Melgrito, 1994)
Networking is an application of system theory. The key concepts of the systems theory are wholeness, relationship, and homeostasis. Wholeness implies that the product of interaction by the elements within the system is greater than the additive sums of the separate parts. The concept of relationship asserts the importance of the pattern and structure of elements in the system, equally important as the elements themselves. Homeostasis, which is the tendency of the physiological system of higher animals to maintain an environment of organized stability even when its natural function or condition has been disrupted, suggests that most living systems seek a balance to maintain and preserve the system.
As a strategy, networking has been used by many sectors in pursuing development endeavors. Networks link local efforts for more effective lobbying and advocacy and provide venues for the exchange of experiences and resources between similar NGOs. A proper coordination of NGO activities, in networking, helps prevent unnecessary duplication or overlapping of development effort. NGOs are also protected from any form of threat because of their collective nature, while they police their own ranks through common code of conduct.
My fondness in the concept of networking began while conducting a study on the subject as development strategy of non-government organizations (NGOs) for my Master of Social Work thesis in the University of the Philippines- Diliman. Since then I have internalized the learnings and live with it in my whatever development endeavors I engage in.
As far as the CBMA is concerned during my term, we had strengthened relationship with the Convention -related organizations & institutions, as well as government and non-government organizations (NGOs). The association was founding member of the Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs (ICON)- umbrella network of NGOs and Volunteer Organization, Information, Communication Exchange (VOICE)-Iloilo Cluster.
But the most significant gain in our networking is the Katipan Hall at Camp Higher Ground, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. Never did it occur in our wildest dream that our association would engage in an infrastructure project. More so, under my term as president. My social work orientation and past organizing experience taught me to be people-centered in approach to development. However, circumstances led us to this new challenge.
It started from an invitation of the Pastors’ Kids (PK) Association to hold our National Assembly at Camp Higher Ground in 2006 for free. At that time, they were starting to develop the Camp after the mandate to manage this neglected treasure of our Convention. Few months later, the Convention leadership retracted, forcing the PK to cancel its goodwill.
Having set our preparation on the venue, our Association decided to take matters in our hands. With the projected cost within our reach, we undertook the project. Only to found out later, there was an overly underestimation of the cost. Upon expert advice, we opted to improve the design with permanent materials due to susceptibility of the area to termites. Exhausting our own resources, we engaged in various fund campaign and use our network, both personal and organizational. Concerts, dinner for a cause, solicitation, loans were but a few of the strategies we undertook.
Soon, we got the support of auxiliary organizations in our Convention, most especially the Pastor’s Kids. Likewise, the CPBC related institutions and Kasapulanans. Our NGO network was also tapped, as well as linkages with the government officials the city and province of Iloilo. Later, independent foundation and network of our pastors abroad assisted us. The rest is history. After fours year, the collective faith and action was realized. The Katipan Hall was completed. A monument of gains in networking.
This blog focuses on the Convention Baptist Ministers Association and Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches. It will recall successful activities in the past, analyze and make commentaries on the trends and issues in both organizations. In this way, we can refresh ourselves, remind the current officers and guide the future leaders of our organizations of the struggles we have and the covenant to keep. We welcome comments, suggestions and even articles related to historical accounts and activities of the aforementioned organizations.
May other readers learn from our experiences and find inspiration to guide them in their respective struggles.